From the Back Row: The Samurai Trilogy


“Generally speaking, the way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death.”

Before there was the original Star Wars trilogy, before there was the Three Colors trilogy, before there was the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Godfather trilogy, and the The Man with No Name trilogy, there was a collection of three epic films from director Hiroshi Inagaki about Japan’s most famed samurai, Musashi Miyamoto, that have become known as the Samurai trilogy – Musashi Miyamoto (1954), Duel at Ichijoji Temple (1955), and Duel on Ganryu Island (1956). Often overlooked and forgotten, many of those that have viewed it – including myself – consider it one of the elite trilogies in film and some of most memorable in all of Japanese cinema.

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From the Back Row: Le Samouraï

Le Samourai 1

“I never lose. Never really.”

If you missed the first edition of From the Back Row, it’s going to be an occasional editorial where I’ll take a look at films that I feel don’t get the recognition, attention, or discussion that they deserve – with hopes of inspiring people that haven’t seen the films to check them out. This edition we’re going to take a look at a personal favorite of mine, the 1967 Jean-Pierre Melville directed French film Le Samouraï.

Starring Alain Delon, whose filmography contain films by legends such as Melville, Michelangelo Antonioni and Luchino Visconti, Le Samouraï is the reflective, deliberately-paced tale of a perfectionist hitman named Jef Costello – a man of honor, pride, and principles who abides by a strict, methodical code in every aspect of his life.
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From the Back Row: The Great Silence

The Great Silence (Silence)

“Once, my husband told me of this man. He avenges our wrongs. And the bounty killers sure do tremble when he appears. They call him Silence. Because wherever he goes, the silence of death follows.”

From the Back Row is going to be my editorial of choice that I’ll dive into every once in a while when the mood strikes me. The purpose is simple: highlight some lesser known films that I feel deserve far more attention and discussion than they receive, and hopefully inspire a few people to queue them up on their on their online rental service of choice. Today we’ll take a look at The Great Silence, the 1968 classic spaghetti western from director Sergio Corbucci.

The Great Silence follows the story of a mute gunslinger-for-hire in late 19th century Utah named Silence (Jean-Louis Trintignant) – a man who always draws second, but shoots first – who agrees to help a group of outlaw Mormons and a woman (Vonetta McGee) who wants to avenge her husband’s death at the hands of a ruthless gang of bounty hunters. Between Silence and Loco (Klaus Kinski), the psychotic leader of the bounty hunters, lies an honest sheriff (Frank Wolff), a man who despises the idea of bounty killing and only wants to see justice.
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